Is the Number of Payday Borrowers Really Increasing?

Payday lenders offer short term loans to customers, usually for a maximum of 31 days and with rates which are sometimes in excess of 500%. There are various reputable payday lenders, such as Wonga, however there are many who are not properly regulated and as a result, are charging disproportionate fees to borrowers. Payday loans are designed to deal with short term financial problems, such as an unexpected bill. They are not supposed to be used on an on-going basis to make ends meet; however, many borrowers are using them in this way and are sometimes paying back as much as four times the amount of the initial loan.

Vancity Talk Payday Loans

Financial establishment, Vancity have reported on payday loans, saying that there has been an increase in the amount of borrowers turning to payday loans during periods of financial difficulties. They say that the number of people using payday loans has increased by 58% in two years, with an increase of 604% in those who have taken out 15 or more of these loans. The report also talked about how borrowers are finding themselves trapped in a spiral, whereby they can’t afford to pay back the loans.

Industry Opinion

The payday lenders don’t share this opinion though and are not quite sure where the figures have come from. The Canadian Payday Loan Association spoke out about the comments, saying that they believe these numbers are incorrect and that in fact, there has been a decline in the number of payday lenders, due to regulation changes. Payday lending may have decreased but it still prominent within our society, due to the credit crunch and the fact that many people are still struggling to keep their heads above water.

Why Borrowers Turn to Payday Loans

There are many reasons why a large number of Canadians are turning to payday loans as an answer to their financial troubles. Many Canadians don’t have bank accounts as a result of where they reside or the fact that they feel the charges would be too high. A large number of borrowers are unaware of how much it can cost to take out a payday loan. There are high rates of poverty in some areas and low earners are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Although it can be a temporary fix for urgent needs, the payday loan is not supposed to be used over and over, which is where the trouble starts.

Potential Changes to Legislation

There have been a number of reports about payday loans in the news recently and recommendations have been made about potential changes to legislation. Some of these would be a greater transparency over the fees being charged, a tailored approach to lending, i.e. carrying out checks to ensure the borrower can afford to pay it back and providing customers with information on financial management. Some of these changes have already been implemented in the US, but Canada is yet to fully follow suit.

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7 Green Canadian Scholarships to Apply For

Wouldn’t it be great to save money in college while also proving to the world how environmentally conscience you are? Well, you can by applying to green scholarships! The aim of these awards are to promote eco-friendly practices to the next generation so that our planet will stay safe and healthy for the foreseeable future. If you’re a Canadian citizen who’d like to reduce educational costs while also increasing your environmental activity, below are 7 earth-friendly scholarships from various companies and organizations.

The Brower Youth Awards

This scholarship is open to youth between the ages of 13 and 22 living either in Mexico, Canada or the United States. Each year six winners will be awarded a $3,000 cash prize in addition to a week long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to participate in camping, media engagements and environmental conferences. The Brower Youth Awards wish to encourage students to either engage in sustainability projects, offer environmental analysis or earth-friendly ideas to help make the world a better place. The deadline is May 18.

Gaspard Keep Canada Green Online Scholarship Contest

Gaspard, the maker of academic regalia, is offering 11 scholarships to eligible students; one worth $2,500 and the rest $1,000. All you have to do is complete a series of online trivia questions found on the site www.keepcanadagreencontest.ca. The trivia questions are all based on the environment and are meant to be educational and fun. The deadline is April 10.

The Bill Mason Memorial Scholarship Fund

Provided through Paddle Canada and running since 1990, the Bill Mason Memorial Scholarship Fund will award $1,000 to help lower the educational costs of “tomorrow’s environmental stewards”. There’s no official application form to submit, rather, you must provide a cover letter and confirmation of eligibility in addition to answering six questions that must be mailed to the organization (side note: if you want to remain a good environmental steward, there’s eco-friendly printing paper offered from various companies that use recycled material). The deadline is September 30.

Canadian Youth Environmental Leadership Scholarship

Cenovus Energy, a Canadian oil and natural gas company, will award a $5,000 scholarship to two Canadian students with at least 2 years of undergraduate study completed. In addition to the monetary award, the scholarship also allows the opportunity for paid summer employment, mentor-ship and invitations to annual gatherings with stipends.

Air & Waste Management Association Scholarships

This organization offers a number of scholarships per year to students pursuing earth friendly careers. You’ll find international scholarships as well as local and chapter scholarships available. Also, in addition to winning funds for school, you’ll also be featured in EM magazine for environmental managers if selected.

Apprentice Ecologist Initiative

The Nicodemus Wilderness Project sponsors this scholarship worth $850. To be considered you must create an environmental stewardship project (something that benefits the environment like reforestation or a recycling operation), take photos of your activities, write an essay and upload that onto the website. The deadline is December 31.

Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships

Annie’s is a company that provides organic foods (no GMOs, synthetic preservatives, pesticides, etc) promoting a healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle in the US and Canada. They offer annual scholarships with two award amounts: $2,500 and $10,000 each that can definitely help lower the cost of college expenses. They believe in being transparent with their earth-friendly business and so offer sustainability reports every year to prove they’re good environmental stewards.

 

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Point of Sale Systems and The Growing Market in Canada

Walking into one of the huge shopping outlets of today, like Wal-Mart, Auchan, or even COOP, you can see just how the retail industry has changed over the years in Canada. The days of making payments in cash only and waiting for your turn at the cash register are dying. And small businesses are growing rapidly thanks to current technology.

Customers are no longer carrying cash very often on their regular shopping trips, and they can be even more impatient if they have to wait in line to pay. Today, shopping in a supermarket can be a lot more entertaining compared to the past. The way today’s transactions are completed is a wonder. With plastic credit and debit cards and options like Touch-n-Go, quick, simple electronic payments are taking over.

Using technologies like NFC and RFID, even a credit card is not a necessity nowadays. Cell phones can provide easy swipe activated payment methods. According to Statista, mobile payment usage among global smartphone users was at 29 percent as of January 2013.

The Market Today

Giants in the industry are going head-to-head to come up with some of new and innovative ideas to attract more customers. Services such as Shopify are allowing business owners the ability to track all aspects of store performance right from an iPad. Freedom of this kind doesn’t just make the work easier, it also helps get the right product in the right place at the right time.

The total number of credit card transactions in the Canada alone totaled 26.2 billion in 2012, as stated by a 2013 Study. It is no wonder that payment processing partners like VISA and MasterCard are developing advanced payment systems and are working on ways to eliminate the very need to carry a wallet. The power of NFC (Near Field Communication) allows customers to access bank details right from their phone while getting the payment done with, and all the while taking care that the lines are secured for payment.

There is constant development and investment going into every single element of POS terminals. Information input and cloud integration are constantly being updated and improved. RFID systems today are able to calculate the worth of a cart before the customer even reaches the checkout counter. That is the kind of innovation you are getting to see.

The Elements of POS

In considering a Point of Sale system, you should know some of the various hardware elements. There are:

  • Touch screens or keyboards for input
  • Card Readers
  • Barcode Scanners
  • Receipt Printers
  • Cash drawers
  • RFID/NFC readers

This list is not exhaustive. A number of other add-ons exist in the market to help both you and your customer. An efficient POS system will not only speed up the entire billing process and make the work of the salesperson easier, it can also help you keep an eye on your inventory and sales history with live updates.

The changing economic system

Markets in Canada today have become much more competitive than they ever were. Prices are being set in the most competitive environments and the customer has a host of choices when it comes to picking their prefered shopping location. It is imperative that you do all you can to offer customers a unique and engaging shopping experience.

Some of the best names in the market are not only working on personalized service to repeat customers, but also on developing innovations in the realm of rewards and customer retention. From faster deliveries to free upgrades, shopping has never been this unique.

POS systems have provided innovations that have revolutionized the way payments are processed, the way customers purchase their items, and the way businesses are managed. With the need for cash and card diminished, there is a whole new world of possibilities available. With features like loyalty programs allowing customers to gather points for purchases and pay up using those accumulated points, there are a lot of options for businesses to reward and attract customers.

Massive investments are being made in the field of POS terminals in hopes of further improving the various capabilities of POS systems. The use of technologies like QR codes, NFC, and RFID has sped up the checkout process tremendously. Today, customers find themselves waiting in the queue for much less time than ever before . With the current rate of technological development, it might be that the time of fully automate POS systems is fast approaching. Perhaps some day in the near future, grocery stores and retail outlets will no longer have need of cashiers and customers can come and go as they please with automated digital wallets interfacing with the POS system for payment.

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